A two-year break from the sport seems to have done nothing to slow Motueka’s Katie Silcock.
The 21-year-old mother-of-two-boys took her Yamaha YZ250F into the lead in the senior women’s class after Saturday’s first of two days of the Mach 1 Yamaha-sponsored 2015 New Zealand Veterans’ and Women’s Motocross Championships in Taranaki, finishing 2-1-2 in her three races and announcing her comeback to the sport in glorious style.
However, she could not quite do enough to defend her one-point lead as rival Letitia Alabaster (Honda), of Pahiatua, came on strong in deteriorating conditions on day two, winning the day with 1-1 results on Sunday and eventually snatching away the title by four points from Silcock.
There was just one point to separate new championship leader Alabaster from Silcock as they lined up for the fifth and final race and whomever finished ahead would be crowned the 2015 champion.
When another rider collided into the rear wheel of Silcock’s bike and she crashed early in the race, it gifted the race lead to Alabaster.
It was a disaster from which Silcock would never recover.
Although she managed to fight back through the traffic, she eventually ran out of time before the chequered flag came out and had to settle for runner-up in that race and also runner-up for the championship overall.
Taihape’s former national champion Sarah Elwin (Yamaha) took the third podium spot for the senior women’s championship with Te Puke’s Mary Wanhill (Suzuki) and Whangarei’s Zia Pitkethley (Yamaha) rounding out the top five.
It was perhaps some consolation for Silcock that she won the final stand-alone race of the event, the women’s feature final, and she was happy to pack up her bike at the end of the day, satisfied that her comeback was complete.
“I thought I had a pretty good weekend, especially considering I have not raced in about two years,” said Silcock.
“Even though the conditions were worse (with rain and wind lashing the Opunake venue), I enjoyed Sunday more.
“I was down on the ground for what seemed like ages when I crashed in that last championship race and had to lift the other rider’s bike off mine. I fought back well and, if there had been just one more lap, I could possibly have passed Letitia (Alabaster).
“But that’s racing I guess. These things sometimes happen in motocross.”
With her comeback ride in the bag, Silcock is now looking forward to a busy season of racing ahead with the Top of the South Motocross series, the big annual Whakatane Summercross just after Christmas and then the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville in the New Year.
“It has been hard to juggle the kids (3-year-old Cooper and 8-month-old Carter), but I seem to make things work out and they love watching me race. I just bought a Yamaha TTR50 for Cooper, so he’s enjoying the sport too.”
Title winners at the weekend were Te Awamutu’s Rachael Archer (junior women); Cambridge’s Sandra Hannon (veteran women’s class); Woodend’s Ben Petrie (veterans’ 30-24 years); New Plymouth’s Lionel Crowe (veterans’ 35-39 years under-200cc two-stroke and under-300cc four-stroke); Tairua’s Nick Prescott (veterans’ 35-39 years over-200cc two-stroke and over-300cc four-stroke); Nelson’s Bryan Heaphy (veterans’ 40-44 years under-200cc two-stroke and under-300cc four-stroke); New Plymouth’s Tony Parker (veterans’ 40-44 years over-200cc two-stroke and over-300cc four-stroke); Blenheim’s Steve Lange (veterans’ 45-49 years under-200cc two-stroke and under-300cc four-stroke); Whakatane’s Darren Capill (veterans’ 45-49 years over-200cc two-stroke and over-300cc four-stroke); New Plymouth’s Mitch Rowe (veterans’ 50-54 years all-in); Blenheim’s Moston Wadsworth (veterans’ 55-59 years all-in); Te Awamutu’s Graham Adams (veterans’ over-60 years all-in).
© Words and photo by Andy and Bridget McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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